2022 Philippine Elections

Robredo says red-tagging Caviteños by Remulla, Lacson an ‘insult’ to their province mates

Mara Cepeda
Robredo says red-tagging Caviteños by Remulla, Lacson an ‘insult’ to their province mates

A massive crowd of around 47,000 supporters of presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo packed the General Trias Sports Park in Cavite for a Grand Rally on Friday, March 4. Robredo, her running mate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, and their senatorial slate were met by thunderous cheers from the mostly young audience. The rally capped Robredo’s tour of the province that began 14 hours earlier. (VP Leni Media Bureau)

VP Leni Media Bureau

(1st UPDATE) Presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo says she doesn't pay crowds to join her rallies, as she would only make a fool out of herself in doing so

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential bet and Vice President Leni Robredo said Cavite 7th District Representative Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla and her opponent Senator Panfilo Lacson insulted Caviteños by red-tagging them claiming they were paid to attend her recent rally

Speaking during the Kandidatalks Go Negosyo Forum on Monday night, March 7, Robredo denied Remulla’s claim that she allegedly paid P500 each to the 47,000 Caviteños who trooped to her grand rally in General Trias City last Friday, March 4. 

“Insulto sa mga province mates. Nandoon ako, nakita ko ’yung tao. ’Yung energy level ng tao, from start to finish, ’pag bayad ’yata hindi ’yun ganun. Wala naman akong nakita na mga truck o mga bus na nagdadala sa mga tao,” Robredo said. 

(That’s an insult to their province mates. I was there, I saw the people. The energy of the crowd, from start to finish, wouldn’t be that way if they were just paid to be there. I didn’t see any trucks or buses that brought people in.)

The lone female presidential candidate argued she is not the type to pay crowds to attend her rallies. First, she does not have the money to do that. Secondly, she is only going to make a fool out of herself in doing so. 

“Kasi kung magbabayad kami ng maga-attend, sinong niloloko namin, ’di ba? Sarili din namin ’yung lolokohin namin. Mas mabuti na organic ’yung pumupunta para naa-assess mo kung gaano ka kalakas,” said Robredo.

(Because if we are going to pay the attendees, who are we joking? We’re just going to make a fool out of ourselves. It’s better for the crowd to be organic so we can assess just how strong we really are.)

“Pero ako nalulungkot ako na magre-resort sa ganito, na hindi pinapahalagahan ’yung dignidad ng mga taga-Cavite (But I am said that they are resorting to this, that they are not valuing the dignity of Caviteños),” she added. 

Robredo’s mammoth rally in General Trias City surprised even the most passionate of her supporters, as the well-entrenched Remullas and Revillas of the country’s second most vote-rich province have already pledged allegiance to the front runner, the late deposed dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

Governor Jonvic Remulla, brother of Boying, had promised to deliver 800,000 votes for Marcos. In turn, Robredo supporters’ rallying cry during General Trias City rally was that they were the “800,000 minus one” defying the ruling elites in their province.

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A day after Robredo’s grand rally, Remulla accused Robredo of paying the crowd and claiming they were “hakot,” or that they were brought in from outside Cavite. 

He then went on to say that among those in the crowd were student activists who were allegedly “trained” by the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines. 

Presidential candidate Lacson – who also hails from Cavite – then retweeted a news article on Remulla’s allegations. The former police general turned lawmaker argued that a government forming a coalition with communist groups would be “worrisome.”

Robredo, however, said it was “irresponsible” for the two Caviteño politicians to make these claims without an ounce of proof. 

“Kung may pruweba, di ilabas ’yung pruweba. Pero wag naman ’yung basta, basta maga-accuse na very irresponsible… Ako, wala ako nakita at all na any indication na puwede kaming ma-accuse na nakikipag-sabwatan kami,” she said. 

(If you have proof, then show it. but don’t just make these very irresponsible accusations… I didn’t see any indication that we could be accused that we are conspiring with anybody.)

Robredo says red-tagging Caviteños by Remulla, Lacson an ‘insult’ to their province mates

The Robredo People’s Council-Cavite, which helped organize the General Trias City rally, already condemned Remulla and Lacson’s claims. The group said the accusations were malicious, damaging to their reputation, irresponsible, and baseless. 

There has been a recent trend in Robredo’s grand rallies being attended by tens of thousands across provinces. But Robredo remains a far second placer to Marcos in the latest pre-election surveys. Robredo is unfazed, however, believing the polls have yet to capture what is happening on the ground.

Trillanes: Robredo has support of retired military, police

Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who is running under the Robredo-Pangilinan Senate slate, said the support for the tandem among a growing number of retired military and police should disprove the red-tagging of Robredo as well as the conspiracy theory against her camp.

“Former AFP and PNP chiefs, all anti-insurgency veterans, have come out for Leni, and their support belies the fake news peddled by conspiracy theorists,” Trillanes said in a statement on Wednesday, March 9.

“Kung naniniwala sila sa black propaganda laban kay Leni, hindi sila pipirma ng manifesto, hindi sila mangangampanya para kay Leni (If they believe the black propaganda against Leni, they won’t sign the manifesto, they wn’t campaign for Leni),” he added.

Trillanes said that if Robredo’s critics “have even an iota of doubt on her ability to lead, the retired generals will not put their hard-won reputation on the line by saying that the vice president is ready to step up as commander-in-chief.”

He said the former generals are “consumers, writers, assemblers” of intelligence reports, “so they know  that the black propaganda against the Vice President is ‘bad intelligence.’”

He said those attempting to undermine the huge Robredo rallies by alleging that the participants are “either paid or red” are “taking a leaf out of the Martial Law propaganda handbook.”

“As we love to say, ‘yang kwento na ‘yan, parang kwentong Tallano, budol na walang basis (that tale is like the Tallano myth, a baseless come-on),” Trillanes said. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.